Not A Dog’s Dinner

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After a boring morning’s admin, I helped The Head Gardener plant tulip and allium bulbs and flowering chrysanthemums. We then enjoyed a salad lunch and drove to

Lymington harbour,

where the rippling water reflected the boats and the blue sky with its attendant clouds

that had been depicted on the canvas above by a skilled painter.

Rowing boats were moored beside the jetty on the seaward side of which yachts were being berthed.

Squawking gulls landed hoping for titbits.

Other craft were coming and going all the time.

Emerging from the forest of masts, a small ferry boat chugged into harbour,

its master steered it to its mooring,

and the passengers disembarked.

The mother of one family returning to land told me that, on this afternoon of sunshine and showers, they had sailed through heavy rain, so it was only now that the junior pirate had been able to wear his Puffin hat.

Once she had fixed the trophy in place, he trotted off clutching his mother’s hand, while his Dad carried his sibling and everything else.

Walking into the first shot of the ferry boat is another photographer, who, when I showed him my portrait of him, smiled and said: “That’s what photography is for”.

Soon a working boat came into view and came to rest at the fishermen’s corner.

I wasn’t sure what was going on here, but a small terrier’s nose gave her a pretty good idea.

She needed some restraint to keep her away from

 

the slowly jerking crabs piled on top of each other in strong boxes.

One of these living creatures climbed over the lip of its container and landed on its back on the quayside. In my childhood I had often righted stag beetles in the same predicament, but I didn’t fancy providing a helping hand on this occasion.

Instead, I alerted the young man who had brought in his boat, mentioning that I wasn’t going to pick it up. Describing the crab as an escapee, he demonstrated that it couldn’t pinch because their claws were nipped when they were caught. This certainly wasn’t a dog’s dinner.

Before leaving, I walked along Quay Street

to the bottom of Quay Hill, feeling quite pleased that the car was parked by the waterside, so I wouldn’t have to follow the others scaling the heights. The little dog somewhat impeding the older woman’s progress was happy to continue once the younger woman carrying an infant had torn herself away from the shop windows.

On we travelled to the east of the forest. These ponies on the land along Thorneywood Road were soon to be spooked by a vehicle that turned round the bend towards us. This sent the animals running around in rather frantic circles.

Many others were grazing among the gorse. As so often, one smaller variety incongruously tagged onto the big boys.

Gwen and Yvonne may prefer to skip what follows.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent liver and bacon casserole, mashed potato, carrots and green beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Reserve des Tuguets Madiran 2014.

The Action Came To Me

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Moat

Jackie and I left Hurst Castle yesterday as we entered, crossing the bridge over the moat. What was once a deep defensive dug-out water-filled trench, now just collects a little precipitation when it rains.

Waiting for the ferry 1

We joined the crowds waiting for the ferry.

Waiting for the ferry 2

The small fleet of pleasure boats plied their way between Keyhaven and the castle. Even as one hove into view there was little movement among the visitors. Each boat only catered for twelve people, so those who were able might as well lounge around on the grass

Ferry arriving

until this arrival

Embarkation

had decanted its load and taken on fresh supplies.

Yachts on land 1 Yachts on land 2 Yachts on land 3

We gained a place on the next one and were soon back at Keyhaven.

Boats in harbour

On board the ferry Jackie had learned the story of the wrecked boat that I have featured in several previous posts. It is seen here with a severe list. The owner of the vessel has apparently died. Before his demise he had sold the mooring to someone at Mudeford. The purchaser has done nothing with it.

This afternoon we drove to Lepe to meet Elizabeth, Danni, and Andy. My sister is embarking on a documentary photographic series on ‘coast’ for her camera club. I had suggested Lepe.

Foal on road

On a wide junction with the Exbury Road outside Beaulieu, a young pony seemed confused. It stood in the centre, not knowing which way to turn, until Jackie stopped for it.

Gull

It had been agreed that we would make our ways to the car park and find each other. A friendly gull guided us to what seemed to be the only available space. Jackie waited in the car.

Beach scene with yachts 1

As I walked along the shingle there was much activity down by the shore at this low tide. Groups gathered in the shallows and yachts were much in evidence.

Beach scene with louring clouds

A louring sky did, however, send some off to the café.

Kite surfing 1

Kite surfers were undeterred.

Andy, Danni and Elizabeth

My extended family members, Andy, Danni, and Elizabeth, were to be found on the shingle at the far end of the car park.

Gull against louring sky

I had decided that, in walking back to inform Jackie, I would amble down to the shore, where the action was. A gull’s presence against the cloud curtain suggested rain was not far away.

People returning from shore 1People returning from shore 2

Indeed, it wasn’t, so, swathed in towels, the action came to me;

Searching the shallows

some pausing to inspect the shallows.

Along with the entire population of the beach, we entered the café, fought for chairs, and drank our choice of hot or cold liquids.

Digging for bait and walking on spit 1

When the sun returned we walked down to the crumbling cliffs for Elizabeth to conduct her recce. There a couple of groups dug for lug worms to use as fishing bait,

Walking on spit and digging for bait 1Walking on spit and digging for bait 2

while others walked along the exposed sand spit.

Kite surfing 2Kite surfing 3

Kite surfers has continued undisturbed.

Geese 1Geese 2Geese 3Geese 4Geese and surf kite

A skein of geese flapped silently by above the scene.

Yachts in sunshine against dark clouds

The darkening sky had shifted enough for a pair of passing yachts to catch the sunlight.

Packing up the kite 1Packing up the kite 2

Soon it was time to pack up the surf kites

Packing up the kite 3

and carry them to the transport.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid sausage casserole, boiled potatoes, carrots, and cauliflower with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Bardalino.

Mobile, cigarettes, chips, and coke

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Aaron, this Sunday, had removed two overhanging branches from a neighbours fir tree, and had dismantled an old temporary greenhouse cobbled together from panels found on our plot. Early this morning we chopped the branches into manageable chunks to fill an orange bag and, along with some of the panels, and a rather rancid bathroom cabinet left by our predecessors, removed them to Efford Recycling Centre.

This effort entitled to us to spend the rest of the morning in the forest.

Ponies in traffic 1Ponies in traffic 2Ponies in traffic 3Ponies in traffic 4Ponies in traffic 5Ponies in traffic 6Ponies in traffic 7Ponies in traffic 8Ponies in traffic 9Ponies in traffic 10Ponies in traffic 11Ponies in traffic 12

We consider ourselves fortunate to have reached Beaulieu and traversed it. The ponies had other ideas. Switching from side to side of the narrow approach road, they caused the longest tailback we have ever experienced here.

Pony on the move

One animal broke into a run when it saw that its companions had

Ponies in traffic 13

reached the wide verge, just outside the village, where we normally see them. If you are bored with all these rear views, imagine what else i was going to do as we fell into line? Do you know that number plate off by heart yet?

Ponies on road

Fortunately, once through Beaulieu, we were travelling in the right direction to be unhindered by a less mobile group.

Entrance

After this, we set off for Calshot Castle which was open for visitors. Originally built for King Henry VIII the castle was extended and refurbished in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.

R.A.F. Medical Corps uniform

The entrance door above leads to the shop where admission tickets may be bought. My first thought was to pass the young woman seated at her desk studying her mobile phone and approach the young man in the corner for tickets. Rapidly reorienting myself I purchased our admission from the young lady, who was, in fact, most engaging. In particular, she had a very tactful way of asking whether we were pensioners, and didn’t use the word once. The gentleman was wearing an R.A.F. Medical Corps uniform.

Head

Entering a room marked ‘Cell’, I found myself in an office, upon a shelf in which was evidence of a recent decapitation.

CannonJackie and cannons

Through the cannon turrets

Paddle boarder

I spied a paddle boarder who wouldn’t have had much chance of penetrating the defences.

Doorway up

We ascended steep stone steps leading

Barracks 1

eventually to a large central room that had, in the last lustrum of the 19th century, been converted to a barracks.

Barracks 2

Each man was allocated his own meagre space containing a metal framed and sprung bed that didn’t look too comfortable.

Tudor chimney and stove

The room contained a coal burning stove fronting the repaired remnants of the Tudor fireplace.

Barracks roof

A number of stone-roofed alcoves

Watching container vessel

were brightly lit by windows from which I could observe visitors watching a container vessel

Watching container vessel and kayaker

and a kayaker down below.

Pointing couples

What, I wondered, had attracted the attention of these two pointers? In the foreground of this shot lies the moat that surrounded the castle.

Garderobe

A corner on this level contained a garderobe. This, primarily, is a locked chamber containing dress and other stores; by extension a bed-chamber, or a privy. This was a very dark room, and the only image for which I used flash. Otherwise you would not have seen the hole, once covered by a wooden seat, which received human excreta to slide down into the depths below.

Top flight of stairs

The final set of steps bore a sign warning of the uneven roof above. I was more concerned about the steps themselves.

Iron door

They led to a stout iron door, one of several that stood one the gun platform up there.

Jackie on battlements

Here is evidence that Jackie made it to the top.

Boats and passers-by 1Boats and passing couple

These images of stored boats, passers by,

Wooden stakes

wooden stakes,

Lifeboat Centre

and a family investigating the lifeboat centre we have to suffice for mine.

Vehicle carrier, ferry boat, yachts

Our trip ended with a brunch in the Activity Centre Café, from which I watched a ferry boat and a couple of yachts crossing the path of a car transporter;

Cigarettes, chips, and mobile

and a family group enjoying their lunch in the sunshine.

This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s Chinese takeaway with which Jackie drank Blue Moon and I finished the Bordeaux.

 

 

 

 

 

Foggy Necking

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We awoke to a garden covered in frost and fog. As the day progressed, some of the precipitation departed, but the mist remained. My photographs largely appeared as if in monochrome, and I undertook no editing at all.

I began with a wander round the garden. Some of these shots, especially the one featuring a dripping cobweb, were taken from an upstairs window. The other cobweb adds a hairpiece to Florence’s statue.

One front and one rear light had failed on the car, so it spent the morning in Downton Service Station.

Christchurch Road in fog

This is what Christchurch Road looked like when we collected it, and drove off, first to

Lymington River where the moored boats were barely discernible,

Ferry crew in fog

and the ferry crews hung about on the upper deck because, like Southampton Airport, the services were fogbound.

Tanner’s Lane was our next target. There the flats at low tide took on the air of Paul Nash’s paintings of the First World War.

Trees and barbed wire in fog

The barbed wire and gnarled trees separating the beach from the field added to the atmosphere.

Ponies in fog 1

As we drove off up the lane two red/brown ponies loomed up ahead.

Considering themselves safe from prying eyes, and ignoring the grey gooseberry further up the road, they embarked upon a passionate necking session.

Once we had circumvented the happy couple, we continued to St Leonard’s Grange.

Trees, both in the fields and along the road took on a spooky image, in keeping with the ruins of the ancient grange.

Pheasant in fog

A pheasant stood proud on the old stone wall of the big house.

Soon after this the journey took an alarming turn. A warning light came on and a message stated that there was a steering fault. In the increasing fog. Several miles from home. Jackie, bravely, tensely, continued, having come to the conclusion that the power steering had failed. She made it back to the service station, and switched off the engine whilst I brought out a mechanic. He sat in the driving seat, switched the ignition back on, and spun the wheel with ease. The problem had righted itself. We decided that, like any computer, when there is a problem one should always try switching it off and switching it back on.

This evening we dined on lamb steaks flavoured with our own dried rosemary, cottage pie topped with cheddar cheese, and sautéed potatoes, leeks, carrots, and green beans; followed by bread and Benecol pudding with evap. I drank Reserve des Tuguets Madiran 2012, while Jackie chose sparkling water.

Brief Encounter

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On a gloriously sunny morning that would have graced any day in Spring, Jackie drove me, via a network of of narrow, populated roads like

Platoff Road

Platoff Road

Normandy Lane

and Normandy Lane, to a footpath leading to Keyhaven and Lymington Nature Reserve.

Canada geese

As I used my long lens to bring the masts of Lymington Marina into this shot of Canada geese congregating in a field, beside which Jackie parked the car, little did I realise I would make closer acquaintance with the boatyard before my trek was over.

As I walked along the path I noticed first a woman walking along what I soon realised was a brick path around the bird sanctuary;

Cyclist silhouette

then a cyclist approaching from the opposite direction.

Walker and cyclist silhouette

Did they, I wondered, pass the time of day as they passed each other on their brief encounter.

A five-barred gate gave onto a sloping track that led to a large rectangular route around the water lands, around which others rambled.

Walker and gorse

This perambulator had obviously dressed to blend in with the gorse.

Waterfowl basked in their sanctuary.

Heron and mallards 1

I rely on my ornithologist friends to correct me if necessary, but I think this is a stationary heron being passed by paddling mallards;

whereas this is an egret admiring its reflection.

Ducks and pigeon

A slender pigeon-like like bird didn’t manage to merge into varieties of duck that I would need some help to identify.

Gulls undertook daredevil low-flying manoeuvres, running barbed wire gauntlets.

Brent geese preferred the high skies,

Approaching Lymington Marina

especially on the approach to Lymington Marina.

Woman on bench

The woman in the foreground of this picture, after I enjoyed a chat with her, had taken a rest on one of the suitably placed observation benches, but it didn’t take her long to overtake me again.

Bird watchers

Bird watchers availed themselves of another seat.

Lymington Marina from Nature reserve 1

About halfway round the rectangle, I realised that I had a choice between walking on to the marina to find my way back to the car from there, and retracing my steps. I’m not one for taking the latter option, but this has, on occasion, presented problems. I stopped  group of people and asked if I could return to Normandy Lane from there. I was told I could, and how to do it, with the observation that I couldn’t get lost. “Don’t you believe it,” I replied. “I can get lost anywhere”.

Ferry boat

The Wight Link ferry boat soon sailed past the marina.

Ducks in flight

Ducks took to the wing;

Dog walker and runner

a jogger and a dog walker took no advantage of their brief encounter;

Boats

and I found myself in the marina,

where boat maintenance was being undertaken.

Kettle

A kettle was on hand;

Hull for repair

parts of hulls had been marked out for attention;

Devil on hull

and a devilish Chad peeped out.

As I left the marina and approached a path that would lead me to Normandy Lane, I met the group who had directed me earlier. “You are still on track” was the cheery greeting. I hadn’t the heart to let them know that I had been somewhat delayed by taking an incorrect, muddy, track.

Jackie was waiting for me, some two hours after my departure. A little more than intended.

This evening we dined on second helpings of yesterday’s curries, with which I consumed Chapel Vineyard cabernet sauvignon 2015.

Little And Large

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After lunch Jackie drove me on a short forest trip, after which we shopped at Lidl for basics such as toilet rolls.

Ferry

An Isle of Wight ferry boat passed the mudbank at Tanners Lane, where

the tide was so far out that the little boat that usually bobs on the water was beached.

I watched a lithe, pure white, egret stretch, then curl, its elegant neck; stab the shallow water; stretch again, shake its undulating throttle, spraying liquid; stride along the bank; and do it all again. Thus it enjoyed a late lunch.

Seaweed on breakwater

Seaweed on the wooden breakwaters indicated sea levels at high tide,

whilst two friendly women walked their Rescue lurcher who ‘has bits in him’. They were not sure of his full provenance.

Ponies 1

Keeping the grass verges at Sowley well cropped were the usual group of ponies

including Little and Large performing their routine double act.

This evening we dined on a takeaway curry from The Raj in Old Milton. We shared onion bahji starters. My main meal was prawn naga and special fried rice. Becky and I finished the Cabalié. The other didn’t drink, and I haven’t registered what they ate.